EP Review-Skate Life by Black Dave
New York is jam packed with “underground” artists. I throw quotations because some artists choose the stylistic definition of the word and some artists just don’t have what it takes for the spotlight (but really do yearn for it) and are still called underground. Is Rass Kass underground because he chose it or because Dr. Dre found Eminem? That’s a discussion for a different day.
What New York doesn’t have is enough rappers like Black Dave. All the radio personalities have personal favorites but a lot of the NY MC crowd feel like the hip hop equivalent of Shoegaze rockers staring down at their feet dispassionately while giving you a dab of trap, a dab of horrorcore, a dab of comedy and it all doesn’t add up to anything spectacular or different. As a composite it’s safe; and you get to tell everyone you like a rapper who does a little bit of everything (Jack of all trades, master of none).
Black Dave makes music that’s immediate. You know exactly what he’s trying to execute as the song starts and that’s partially due to a must-listen flow that stands in front of any and every beat. The other part is the song composition. Look at the difference between the slim, trim jazzy morning wake up song Turkey Bacon Smoke where he lays back and walks you through the verses and the boom-bapping bark Respect The Intellect where he asserts his individuality “You should do what you supposed too and know the game before somebody try to coach you.” It’s a real talk proclamation that artists should know their music thoroughly before they seek major label success. Know what principles you need to fight for, the ones that define you before you enter the system and it naturally tries to change you.
For a five song EP Skate Life possesses some pretty elegant mood changes. Not only can he assert the foundations of the NY hip hop sound on Respect The Intellect he can make his sultry hitting on you song (Foomie) catchy and head nodding with each line delivered as if from a smirk.
His Chorus work is as impressive as ever; just listen to the anthemic hook on Be Quiet. You can almost see the stadium goers standing and screaming. This all might seem like old news to Black Dave fans. Dude has several dope mixtapes that express these attributes. Skate Life is important because it confirms that Dave’s best music isn’t a rare occurrence. For so many NY rappers waiting for their best work is like whale watching. Dave can drop great listenable 15 track mixtapes or 5 track EP’s. Imagine what a real retail album would sound like?
Stream or download Skate Life EP below: